U.S. Supreme Court Decides American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut; Holds That Federal Judges Cannot Set Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards by Judicial Decree Under Federal Tort Law

On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that several states, the city of New York and three nonprofit land trusts could not maintain federal common law public nuisance claims against five major electric power companies for their carbon dioxide emissions. American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, U.S., No. 10-74, June 20, 2011 (references are to the Slip op., publically available here ). The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief requiring each power company to cap its emissions at a certain level (to have been determined by a federal judge) and then make further emissions reductions annually for at least a decade. The state of Wisconsin was one of the original plaintiffs in the suit but withdrew from the suit when Governor Walker took office…

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